We often have an image of the first Christmas as a peaceful scene, beautiful stars shining on a quiet night, shepherds serenely watching their flocks in beautiful green moonlit pastures and the people going about their quiet lives. When in reality the scene of Israel at that time was nothing close to peaceful or serene.
Israel was under enemy occupation, the culture was in turmoil, and the people under oppression. There was political unrest and instability with new leaders coming and going. Those in authority feared assassination by those hungry for power. Laws were imposed upon the people. The enemy built fortresses throughout the land, providing a visual reminder of their bondage. Taxation oppressed the people. Fear of slavery, imprisonment, loss of property or even crucifixion was real for the people of Israel.
It was during these dark days that God chose to send His Son to earth.
However, God did not send His only Son to bring physical deliverance from Rome’s oppression, or to rid the land of its enemy occupants, or to provide stability for the country, or to bring in an era of peace.
The God of the universe had the power to do all of these things, but what He came to accomplish was far more profound. It was something spiritual, something that has the power to affect every living soul individually.
Jesus did not come to overthrow His enemies; He came to save His enemies.
And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight. (Colossians 1:21-22)
Jesus did not come to avenge those who had died by the hands of their enemies; He came to die for those who deserved death.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. ( Romans 6:23)
Jesus did not come to free those in Roman dungeons; He came to free those who were slaves of their own sins.
But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
Jesus did not come to break Roman control; He came to break the power of the law of sin and death.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)
Jesus came to deliver sinners from eternal torment and separation from God.
That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:12-13)
Jesus did not come to usher in an era of peace; He came to offer peace with God to those who had wronged Him with their sin.
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)
Jesus came so those who were dead in sin could have abundant life.
I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10b)
Jesus came to make a way to enter God’s presence.
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14, 16)
Jesus came to make a way for sinners to have fellowship with the King of kings and Lord of lords.
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (John 1:3)
Jesus came to offer rest to those who trust in Him.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your soul. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
Jesus came to bring joy.
And now come I [Jesus] to thee [the Father]; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
The state of Israel during the era when Jesus came portrays a beautiful contrast to what He came to accomplish, not circumstantially, but in the hearts and lives of those who place their trust in Him!
We are often faced with trouble or hard circumstances that do not lend themselves to freedom, peace, rest or joy; but in Christ these things can be found no matter the situation!
This is why Jesus came!